I wrote the following about 4 years ago when I was still pastor in Somers Point. Looking at it now, it may remind us of a few of the things that we might have taken for granted before the current pandemic. I invite you to consider the following in light of our “quarantined” situation. Maybe we will have a greater appreciation for the richness of our Catholic faith.
What if there were no Easter Sunday? What if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead?
Well, you certainly would not be reading this message from me. I suspect that I would probably be married with a family, engaged in some other kind of occupation. I certainly would not be a Catholic priest. Perhaps, a Jewish rabbi? Who knows?
There would be no Catholic churches. No Christian, Orthodox or Protestant churches as well.
No Mass. No Eucharist. No sacramental Confession. No Christian Baptism. Any of the other sacraments? Nope.
Forget the Catholic schools, Catholic hospitals and Catholic orphanages. No Catholic charities. No Religious Orders like the Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustinians or Dominicans.
We would never hear those timeless Catholic hymns. No Gregorian chant. Tantum Ergo, O Salutaris, Pange Lingua, Stabat Mater . . . unfortunately, they would not exist. None of the great Christian-themed artwork that fills the rooms and walls of museums either.
No Communion of Saints. No need for Christian martyrs. No Gospels. No Evangelists. No Christian apologists.
Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, St. Paul and Santa Cruz, countries like El Salvador and San Marino, islands like St. Thomas, St. John and St. Martin would obviously have other non-Christian names.
No popes. No bishops. No organized hierarchy. No dioceses.
If we were fortunate enough to be Jewish, we would still be awaiting a messiah. Will God remember His promises to our ancestors? Will He send someone to save us?
If we were not Jewish, unfortunately, we might be worshipping some pagan god, not knowing any better.
Jesus of Nazareth would have been seen as some crazy, self-proclaimed messiah like a Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, Sun Myung Moon or Marshall Applewhite, instead of Lord, God and Savior.
Would we have hope in eternal life without the Resurrection of Jesus? Would we have forgiveness of sin? Would the cross of Christ be just another Roman execution among many others?
“. . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.” (1 Cor. 15: 17)
Fortunately for us, Jesus is Risen!
Our world will never be the same again—ever!
We have a hope and a promise of immortality—eternal life!
We have the forgiveness of sin!
We are given new life through Christ!
Realize how blessed we truly are.
Have a Happy Easter (season)!
Fr. Ed Namiotka